Theme Statement: Reconceiving, Regrounding, and Reclaiming
Claiming Williams Day was born from a student-run movement called Stand With Us, a group formed in response to hateful incidents involving racism and homophobia in 2008. Since this initial event, the Day has become part of a process where Williams celebrates diversity and inclusion, while not necessarily confronting and critiquing systems and practices of exclusion. This year’s theme, Reconceiving, Regrounding, and Reclaiming, aims to harken back to the sentiments, motives, and intentions of the original Day. The goal is to interrogate and reconceive perceptions of the Williams experience, to invite all members of the community to an inclusive discussion of how to reground the institution, and to provide a platform for lost stories to be reclaimed.
The hope is that Claiming Williams will invite community building through the process of critique, and that in the process it will provide a platform for authentic expressions of experiences at Williams, reflect on the relationship between Williams and those experiences, and work towards inclusion through the lens of critique and vulnerability. Going back to the mission of Stand With Us and the first Claiming Williams, the objective of Claiming Williams 2020 is for the community to work proactively to unpack harmful and hateful incidents, not just respond to them.